Recent Heartland/Climate Items

Here’s a roundup of the newest cruelty:

Kloor writes:

The views (the facility overlooks the Hudson River) are stupendous, the food is excellent (mostly vegetarian and locally produced), and the vibe is … well, weird: Part new age, part science, and part rah, rah, as in, let’s all pool our brain power and figure out a way to get people to pay more attention to climate change and reduce their carbon footprint.

From Kahan’s summary:

I was also genuinely shocked & saddened by what struck (assaulted) me as the anti-science ethos shared by a large number of participants.

Multiple speakers disparaged science for being “materialistic” and for trying to “put a number on everything.” One, to approving nods of audience, reported that university science instruction had lost the power to inspire “wonder” in students because it was disconnected from “spiritual” (religious, essentially) sensibilities.

  • Polluter Arguments Rebuffed In ‘Scopes Trial’ On Climate Science – Josh Israel writing at ThinkProgress. A panel of federal appeals judges is hearing a consolidated challenge to the EPA’s 2009 endangerment finding (and related rule-makings, which would, if left unaltered, lead to the regulation of atmospheric CO2 as a pollutant). Apparently the judges’ questions during the first day of oral arguments do not bode well for the industry groups and conservative politicians arguing that the EPA is being ridiculous.

I’m interested by this idea that by putting issues like this into a court setting, we can bring to bear the mechanisms we have evolved for determining truth in difficult circumstances. More on that in a future post, maybe.

Moutal appears to be buying into the “strategy memo is authentic” meme (or maybe the “Joe Bast forged it personally” meme; hard to tell). At least, he (Moutal) quotes the infamous “dissuading teachers from teaching science” line from the strategy memo without mentioning the problems with its provenance. I find that unfortunate, for the same reason I find it unfortunate that DeSmogBlog maintains that the strategy memo is legitimate: I can no longer trust their information without independently verifying it.


One of the most troubling aspects of the leaked Heartland Institute documents was the revelation that they were planning to create a school curriculum for K-12 students that “that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science“. This was seen by many as the most controversial aspect of Heartland’s attempt to ‘influence’ the debate on climate change, because it is one thing to confuse political leaders (they almost seem to enjoy it), but quite another to spread misinformation to students.

Update: In response to a question I raised in the item’s comments, Michael Tobis said he had contacted Moutal, verified that the inclusion of the quote from the strategy memo was accidental, and revised the text accordingly. “P3 takes no position on the origins of the disputed memo,” wrote Tobis in his comment.

Laframboise summarizes some of the most excessive Glieck apologists, and concludes with this:

It will be fascinating to see how this story develops. In the meantime here is a question for all of the above apologists. For Greg Laden, Michael Tobis, John Horgan, Stephan Lewandowsky, Patrick Lockerby, Mark Alan Hewitt, and James Garvey. Here is a question for all of those individuals who expressed similar opinions on news websites and blogs during the past two weeks. Where do you draw the line?

I get it. Lying and stealing and misleading are OK so long as they help advance a good cause. What else is acceptable? Old fashioned burglary? Arson? Car bombs?

Where is the line?

Good question.

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